I was pleasantly surprised
by Joseph Gullo

I was asked by my good friend and colleague, Gaetano D'Andrea, to write a few lines expressing my thoughts on the recent experience regarding the "sister school" pact between Liceo Statale Nicola Fiani and Hutchinson Technical High School.
Although, my involvement with the "gemellaggio" was totally by chance, I am indeed proud and happy to have been able to participate in such a memorable experience.
I was pleasantly surprised by the Italian students' ability in manipulating the English language as effectively as they did, given the fact that their knowledge of English has been the result of books and classroom exposure (it showed their serious intent as students). I was particularly intrigued, however, by their ability to express abstract concepts regarding the cultural differences that they had so keenly observed in their brief visit to Buffalo.
In fact, as much fun as it was accompanying the entire group from Torremaggiore to see the various sights in and around Buffalo, for me the highlight of the experience came as I watched and observed the exchanges of ideas and information between the Italian students and the American students in my Spanish classes. Even more rewarding was the fact that the American students were rather impressed by the Italian students' "intellectual" aptitude and their ability to express themselves in a language that was not their native one.
For us in the field of pedagogy, seeing students from different cultures and languages exchange ideas and opinions are gratifying moments that fulfill the existentialist needs that we are all searching for.
After fifteen years of teaching, I can honestly say that the "gemellaggio" experience was reinvigorating and satisfying.
I thank you Gaetano, Dirigente Cera, Iole, Giovanna, Debora, Francesca, Matteo, Antonio e Sabino.

Marzo 2002